Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Another Private Sector Triumph

Or not:
A new study commissioned by the Department of Education, which compares the achievement of students in charter schools with those attending traditional public schools in five states, has concluded that the charter schools were less likely to meet state performance standards.

In Texas, for instance, the study found that 98 percent of public schools met state performance requirements two years ago, but that only 66 percent of the charter schools did. Even when adjusted for race and poverty, the study said, the charter schools fell short more frequently by a statistically significant amount.
"In five case-study states, charter schools are less likely to meet state performance standards than traditional public schools," the report said. Those states, Texas, Colorado, Illinois, Massachusetts and North Carolina, all have made significant public investments in charter schools.

The report's finding appears to present a new complication for the Bush administration as it seeks to carry out the No Child Left Behind law, which says that public schools failing to meet achievement objectives over several years may be converted into charter schools.
Pop Quiz:

The mission of a private sector school management firm is to...
a) Educate Children
b) Maximize Shareholder Value

The mission of a private medical insurer is to...
a) Provide Health Care
b) Maximize Shareholder Value

I could keep going, but you get the point. There are some missions that are essential to society, and need to be accomplished whether or not anyone can make a profit on it. Education is one of them. You only get a second chance on education on a macro scale, and while you're fooling around on that level, thousands of children get cheated of a decent education and you get an electorate that can't make decisions based on reason.

Which, of course, is the real point.


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